Administrative assistants and other administrative professionals, such as office clerks, receptionists, and secretaries, learn a number of skills that are easily transferable to many other roles. No matter what type of career you want to pursue, these key administrative assistant skills that can help be successful in this position.
When you have your next job interview, don't undervalue your administrative skills. Whatever your intended career path, any prospective employer will see these administrative assistant skills as desirable assets.
6 administrative assistant skills for a successful career
Here are six of the most important administrative assistant skills any individual can have and how they can improve your chances of landing a job in any field you wish to pursue.
Efficient typing skills
Many administrative professionals spend much of their time typing on their keyboards. Whether they've taken professional typing courses or not, they'll likely find that their speed and accuracy improve over time. With computers found in almost every workplace, typing skills have become an essential skill to have in every industry.
Computer programmers, medical transcriptionists, and stenographers rely heavily on typing skills, but you'll find any prospective employer will assume an administrative assistant can type like a pro. The faster you can accurately type, the more productive you will be in most workplaces.
Strong software competency skills
Administrative assistants need strong software competency skills to keep up with the various programs that keep most offices running. Professionals use all sorts of office productivity programs, project management apps, and calendar or scheduling programs, including:
- Microsoft Office
- Google Workspace
- Toggl Track
- Google Calendar
- And many more
These programs are not exclusive to the administrative world and can be found in other industries, such as education, social work, and health care. Even if former administrative professionals seek roles in industries where these programs aren't used, their computer software experience is still highly beneficial. The more familiar you are using any type of computer program or application, the easier it is to familiarize yourself with new programs.
Organizational and time-management skills
Scheduling and managing appointments is another vital skill for many administrative professionals. From the administrative assistants managing patient bookings at a busy doctor's office to those organizing executives' appointments, administrative professionals must use time efficiently and ensure appointments never overlap.
Time management requires a variety of skills that are transferable to many professions. Note your appointment-keeping and scheduling experience in your resume or during an interview and a potential employer becomes aware of your effective organizational and time management skills. These are often called "soft skills," but we prefer to call them core skills, or transferable skills because you can transfer them to just about any line of work. You can even use transferable skills to switch jobs.
Well-developed filing skills
Valuable filing skills also speak to your ability to stay organized as an administrative professional. Secretaries, office clerks, or administrative assistants must file either physical or electronic documents so they are easy to find. Polishing up your filing skills as an administrative assistant will help you in a variety of fields. This top administrative assistant skill will show any prospective employer that you are efficient, resourceful, and well-organized. They demonstrate your organizational abilities and prove that you will be an asset to any team.
Excellent interpersonal skills
Administrative assistants need strong interpersonal skills as they deal with employees and staff from almost every department of a company. These beneficial administrative assistant skills are highly valued and encompass a wide variety of other skills, such as:
- Speaking and listening skills
- Negotiation skills
- Conflict-resolution skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Decision-making ability
Administrative employees will find that they develop their interpersonal skills more and more the longer they work in the administrative industry. Interpersonal skills can also be improved during leisure time through playing team sports and participating in social organizations. Using effective communication to prove you are a team player will get you far in your career.
Superior attention to detail
Administrative workers need to notice the details. If a document is missing a signature, for example, that could cause lengthy delays that severely impact a business. If an email with a spelling error goes out, the business will come across as unprofessional. Hiring managers need job applicants with eagle eyes that spot problems and hold teams to a high standard. They want employees with a strong work ethic who can exercise good judgment and tackle administrative tasks efficiently.
No matter what role you pursue, details matter in a wide variety of fields. Attention to detail ensures a potential employer that you take the extra care necessary to perform your job to the best of your ability.
Having these six administrative assistant skills will place you in a valuable position when applying for a wide variety of jobs. Whether you wish to work in an office environment or in another field, such as health care, education, or technology, all of these administrative skills can transfer to these types of industries and many more. Not only will they enhance your professional goals, but these abilities, such as interpersonal skills and time management skills, can greatly improve your personal life too.
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